20 February 2009

In Which I Deign to Touch Raw Chicken

Sam and Erika's second baby, Madeleine, was born a couple of weeks ago. Tonight was my turn to supply them with a meal. I had planned to make them some good old Japanese curry, but then I started to wonder if the spice would bother the baby. So in addition to the curry, I also made my first ever roast chicken! Applause, please!

I've always been a little squeamish about touching raw meat. You wouldn't think so, since we're the furthest thing from vegetarian and I have to do it pretty much every day. Well, the daily-ness of it hasn't really pushed me to enjoy touching raw meat more, it's just inspired me to find creative ways around it. My most basic avoidance technique is, I steer clear of large hunks of meat and tend toward stir fries and/or other dishes that allow me to hold the meat over the pan or pot and then scissor pieces off.

But lately, the whole chickens at my local market have been on sale for 99 cents a pound. I bought one last week and made chicken stock, then Thai Coconut Chicken soup out of it. That was a positive experience, so this morning, I bought two more chickens with the intention of using one of them on Erika.

I ended up roasting the chicken, and I have to say, it was pretty tasty! I promised Erika that I would post the roasting directions, so here goes. This method is from the trusty How to Cook Everything.

Roast Chicken
Put your chicken in a roasting rack or pan or cake pan with rolled up pieces of foil coiled into the bottom. Roast breast side down at 500 for 20 minutes. Baste each side of the chicken with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Turning the chicken so breast is up, roast for 8 more minutes, then remove the chicken and lower the oven temp to 325. While waiting for the oven temp to adjust, baste the chicken with the juices that have gathered in the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the oven and cook for 20-30 more minutes, or until the chicken is done (at this point, there was some instruction about a thermometer and 165 degrees in the thigh--didn't do that since I broke my meat thermometer and haven't gotten around to replacing it). If the juices from the inside of the chicken are still red, then let it cook for 5 more minutes. After taking it out of the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes. Then transfer the chicken to a plate and pour the juices into a clear measuring cup. Let the fat separate for a few minutes, then spoon it off, pour the juice back over, and serve.

By the way, our menu was as follows:
*white rice
*Japanese style curry
*roast chicken
*salad of romaine, walnuts, dried cranberries, romano cheese and dijon vinaigrette
*white chocolate peppermint brownies
*pumpkin bars with cranberries and chocolate chips

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